The official blog of author Jean Marie Bauhaus

Category: Fiction & Freebies

Free Flash Fic: Blood

So, I had all these posts planned for October, mostly revving up for Nanowrimo and explaining why you should do it and how to go about it, but work day-job need money to live blah blah blah busycakes. So have a free flash fic.

PS: My books are still on sale!

 

BLOOD

 

I was a boy when the monster killed my parents. Of course nobody believed me. It was put down to a bear attack. But I know what I saw. I watched from under the bed as it fed on them. And when it was done, it sniffed me out, lifted the bed off me like it was made of cardboard. It bent down and put its big ugly face in mine, its breath fetid with the stink of their blood, and stared at me with nightmare eyes that I still see every time I sleep.

Then it left.

I don’t know why it spared me. I don’t care. It orphaned me. I’m going to make it wish it had killed me.

My entire life prepared me for this. Learning about it, studying the lore. I found others who had seen it, who had been victimized by it. I found those who knew how to track it, and how to kill it. They taught me, and when I was ready, I hunted it.

I found others of its kind, and killed them. It took a silver-tipped sword, forged by monks and tempered with holy water. Beheading worked. So did stabbing through the heart, but the heart was hard to locate, so I generally stuck with beheading. I’ve taken out five of them since I started hunting. But none were the one I wanted.

That one is here before me now. I tracked it to a back alley in Tulsa of all places. I know it by its eyes. It’s looking at me, and I see recognition. And regret.

Good.

I draw my sword. It swipes at me. I dodge, but not fast enough. Its claw grazes my arm. Not deep, but it tears through my coat and makes me bleed.

We dance like that for several minutes. Time slows, and it feels like hours. Then my sword finds its home, slices clean. The head falls, and just like that, my life’s work is done. My parents are avenged.

I hear a wild howl, and I turn. My monster had a mate, and she charges me. I raise my sword. She runs onto it. Miraculously, it finds the heart. She falls.

I pull out my blade and wipe it on her fur. I hear another wail, this one small and pitiful. It’s coming from a Dumpster.

Inside I find another one. Just a pup. An orphan now, like me. If I spare it, it’ll only grow up to be a killer. And it’ll want vengeance. Also like me.

I won’t make that mistake.

I raise my sword, but as I look in its eyes, I see only myself.

It trembles as I wrap it in my coat and tuck it under my arm. As I carry it to my car, I wonder first how it will ever forgive me. Then I wonder how on earth I’ll feed it.

We’ll figure it out, together. We’re family now, bound by our parents’ blood.

###

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Free Story: Snack Machine

It’s the first day of fall! Hooray! To celebrate, here’s a free story to help get you in the mood for the Halloween season.

 

Snack Machine

 

You think strange thoughts sometimes when you work the night shift. Coming home in the dark late at night, it’s easy to imagine that something in the darkness is out to get you.

If your imagination is like Tina’s, you might think how creepy it would be if the thin, dark gap between the wall and the vending machine at the end of the hall was really a doorway to some otherworldly dimension.

And then you might laugh the thought away as you grab your chips and resist the urge to run back to your apartment.

She was tired when the thought occurred to her, after a long night on her feet at the diner, and it was a nice distraction from worrying about getting mugged on the way home. Or worse.

Tina liked having the machine there. It was her one consolation when her budget had forced her to settle on the tiny basement efficiency. She almost hadn’t been able to afford even that, what with the landlady wanting two month’s rent up front. Thankfully, she’d relented. “Had a lot of trouble with drifters sneaking out without paying their rent,” she’d said, “but I guess you don’t strike me as a drifter.”

Anyway, takeout places were usually closed when her shift ended, and a bag of chips was better than nothing when she felt too tired to cook. She kicked off her shoes and turned on The Late Late Show and munched on her bag of Sun Chips. At least she could pretend those were kind of healthy. When they were all gone, she brushed off the crumbs, crumpled up the bag and headed to bed.

Sneak Peek – Untitled Steampunk Cyborg Pixie Story

steampunk-fairy--large-msg-129989045703Happy prelude to a long weekend! Here’s a brief (and rough) excerpt of the short story I’m currently working on for submission to yet another anthology.

***

He was shiny.

That’s what first drew her notice. Other men were bland and monochrome and hardly worthy of attention. But this one, he gleamed. He tried to hide it under a hat and dark glasses and gloves and other human trappings, keeping his head down and avoiding other human eyes, but she saw. That first glimmer of light drew her to him as the sunlight glinted off his cheek, and as she watched him, his sleeve rode up and exposed shiny brass skin. He was a curiosity, and the elders had always said that she was a dangerously curious thing. So of course she followed him.

He lived in a small cottage at the edge of the wood, well outside of town. The house had a lovely garden, but it was the things inside that held her interest. Through the window she spied even more curiosities and wonders: birds and butterflies and mice and other small, delicate creatures made of the same shiny stuff that the man was made of — at least partly.

For once inside, he stopped hiding, and she could see him truly. He removed his hat and glasses and revealed a head and half a face covered in plates of polished brass. Where his left eye should have been, there was a socket filled with cogs and gears and other parts she had seen on the machines of men. He removed his coat and gloves and rolled up his sleeves, revealing an arm made of polished wood and brass, and a hand with coppery joints that could flex and grasp as well as his pale, fleshy hand.

He went to the table where his brass menagerie lay dormant, picked up something that looked like a spy glass and affixed it to the empty eye socket. Then he took a key from his vest pocket and began winding each small creature, one by one, bringing them to life.

She hovered at the window and watched, delighted and mesmerized by this clever man and his creations, as copper butterfly wings fluttered and brass birds sang and flew and mock mice raced around the surface of the table. The butterfly came near the window, and the wings were a sight to behold, covered with intricate scroll work, gleaming and delicate. A pang of envy shot through her as she glanced back at her own wings, wishing they were even half as splendid.

The butterfly shot away from the window and she found herself pressed up against the glass, gazing after it with longing, wanting only to go inside and have a closer look.

She never saw the cat.

***

Free Story: Food Scarcity

Sorry for the blog silence. Lately my life has been split pretty evenly between doing the job hunt mambo and writing content for Demand Studios and spending what little free time I do have just trying to rest and recharge my batteries so I can do it all over again. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging. Or unpaid writing of any sort, really.

So since the flash fiction project is on hold I decided to go ahead and share one of the two I’ve actually managed to finish (the other one is still under submission with a local e-zine). It’s only 500 words long, so grab a cuppa and settle in for a quick read. The title isn’t final, but for now I’m calling it…

 

FOOD SCARCITY

 

The lights still came on at night in the city. The girl wondered how long they would keep doing that, without anyone around to turn them on. The screens and news tickers in Times Square had been broadcasting the same warnings to stay inside and lock your doors for two weeks now. She didn’t think there was anyone left in the city still capable of heeding the warnings.

But she kept looking, just in case.

She stuck to the shadows and avoided streets where she could hear the tell-tale moans. She wasn’t afraid of those things. They weren’t that hard to kill, one on one. But swarms were a different story, and she couldn’t afford to get injured. Too many depended on her to lead them. To feed them.

So she hunted, even though it seemed more useless with each passing night.

A scream pierced the silence, filling the girl with hope. Only the living screamed like that. She scanned the street, the shops and restaurants. The living tended to show up where there might be food.

But the unliving tended to show up where there was screaming, so she had to hurry. The woman screamed again, and the girl raced toward the sound. There, up ahead. The Starbucks on Eighth Street. The windows were broken. A woman backed out of the door, clutching a broken and bloody two-by-four like a club. A shopping bag hung over her shoulder.

The girl came up from behind. Peering over the woman’s shoulder, she saw a man lying on the floor, swarmed by the unliving. They were devouring him. The woman sobbed. For now, they were too distracted to hear her.

The girl spun her around. She screamed and raised her weapon, but didn’t swing. “Are you bit?”

Dazedly, the woman shook her head. “My husband.” She looked back at the man on the floor… what was left of him. “David…”

“We can’t help him. Come with me.”

“Where?”

“Away from them.” Inside, the ones who couldn’t get their fill were starting to take notice of them. “Now.” She grabbed the woman’s hand, and pulled. The swarm filed out through the door behind them. They ran together down the street, turning here and there, tracing a path through a maze the girl knew well. The woman kept sobbing as they went. “Be quiet!” the girl commanded.

They ran down an alley, to a dead end. They turned around. The woman screamed again as the swarm followed them, blocking the entrance. There was nowhere to go.

The others emerged from the shadows. Her children. Together, they fought the oncoming horde. It was easy, together. When they were finished, covered in gore and surrounded by squirming pieces of the unliving, they turned to the woman as one.

She looked confused, and terrified. “M… my name is Sheila.” She held out the grocery bag with a trembling hand. “I have food.”

“We know,” said the girl, her fangs descending. “And we’re so hungry.”

###

 

Story Time Tuesday: Eucha Falls, Part Five

Finally! Without further ado:

Eucha Falls

Part Five

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four

It was lunchtime when Shane returned to pick her up. They grabbed microwavable burgers at the gas station where they stopped to fill the car on the way out of town, but even then it was late afternoon before they reached the stretch of highway that led to the park.

“You’ve still got it programmed into the GPS, right?” Melanie asked as she consulted her map.

“Yeah. Our turn should be coming up soon.”

Melanie looked up from the map and looked out at the highway. Up ahead, she saw a billboard coming into view, and as they grew closer she recognized the ad for the marina. “This is it.”

Shane slowed the car and took a right turn, and they heard the familiar crunch of gravel under the tires. But after a few yards, as the gravel gave way to black tar pavement, he stopped the car. “This isn’t right.” He looked behind them, where they could still see the highway and the billboard. “Wasn’t there a Dead End sign?”

Dominion of the Damned – New Excerpt, & Where To Buy

Welcome, Holiday Blog Hop visitors! If you’re looking for my Blog Hop Giveaway, click here! Or keep reading for a sneak peek at my new novel and a special Holiday Hop offer…

Dominion is out in the wild this week, folks… at long last. In lieu of posting the next installment of Eucha Falls for Story Time Tuesday (mostly because I haven’t yet had time to write the next scene), instead I thought I’d share a never-before-seen-in-public sneak peek at the new book. But first, here’s a handy list of everywhere it’s available.

The e-book is available on Amazon.com (as well as .ca and various international sites), Barnes & Noble, and Kobo .

The paperback is available on Createspace and Amazon. Createspace offers higher royalties, so if possible, I’d appreciate it if you’d buy it there, but you do what you gotta do. 😉

What about signed copies? I’m glad you asked. Because this week only, during the Holiday Hop, if you e-mail me at jmbauhaus@gmail.com and let me know that you purchased a paperback, along with your mailing address, I will mail you a signed bookplate FREE OF CHARGE. Unfortunately, I can only make this offer to domestic US residents. If you’re outside of the US and are willing to cover postage costs, by all means, contact me for details. This offer is also in effect for my other novel, Restless Spirits.

And what about signed e-books? Yes, that’s right–signed e-books! You can request a free virtual autograph for your e-books at Authorgraph. And I will do my best not to make my virtual signature look like a drunken five-year-old drew it.

On to the excerpt…

The following is the entire third chapter of Dominion of the Damned. You can also read the first two chapters here.

Story Time Tuesday: Eucha Falls, Part Four

I’ve been remiss in keeping Eucha Falls updated for the past few weeks, mainly because I haven’t time to write it. But I finally knocked out the next scene, so… here it be.

 

Eucha Falls

Part Four

Part One | Part Two | Part Three

“I have to show you something.” She and Shane both spoke at once as she opened the door to her room. They stood there blinking at each other, her with her hand on the door and him in the doorway with his computer bag slung over one shoulder.

She turned and headed for her desk, beckoning for him to follow. “Close the door,” she told him. “There’s something new on the video.”

“You should see this first.” He pulled up a chair and started unpacking his laptop. “I kept wracking my brain, trying to remember why Eucha Falls sounded so familiar, and I finally did some Googling. You’re not going to believe what I found.”

Story Time Tuesday: Eucha Falls, Part Three

Eucha Falls

Part Three

Part OnePart Two

 

It was like watching a home movie in slow motion. Everything was colored in the golden, hazy light of nostalgia. Watching the sky and the trees go by out the car window, her parents in the front seat, Scottie with her in the back. It was one of the rare times when they didn’t fight or jostle each other for elbow room. They were too happy, too excited.

 

And then the bridge, and excitement and anticipation about what lay on the other side. They could already see it on the other side, the big red sign, all lit up, shining bright even in the day.
Then they were walking up the path, her and Scottie, hand in hand. She didn’t see her parents, but they had to be there, probably lagging behind. Fern greeted them at the ticket booth, the kindly, chubby old lady with the yellow, thinning curls and the smile ringed in bright red lipstick. “There’s my red-headed girl!” she said by way of greeting. “It’s about time you two were back with us!” She handed Melanie a balloon, which she passed along to Scottie, and waved them both through the gate.

Story Time Tuesday: Eucha Falls (formerly Blackwood Park) Part Two

With Blackwood Park being only a working title, I’ve settled on the actual title of my abandoned amusement park story: Eucha Falls. I’ve racked my brain trying to remember what the park in my recurring dream was actually called, but it’s just not coming to me. At any rate, this new title feels more fitting, and definitely less like a rip-off of Rosswood Park (and you get a cookie if you know that reference).

So here’s the next scene.

Blackwood Park

Eucha Falls

Part Two

Click here for Part One.

“You sure you want to watch this?” asked Shane.

Back in the safety of Melanie’s room in the small house she shared with two other renters, she had already booted up her laptop and plugged in the camera. “I’m sure.” As the video player opened to the beginning of the footage, she reached to click the start button, but Shane grabbed her hand.

“Mel, you don’t know what we’re going to see on here. Maybe I should watch it alone first. Then I can prepare you for… for whatever.”

“You mean for watching my brother’s murder. You think I haven’t thought of that? That I haven’t been thinking about anything else since we found this thing?”

“I know. I just meant—”

“I know what you meant.” She took hold of his hand with her free on and gently pried it away. She didn’t let go, but squeezed it as she said, “If that’s what’s on this tape, then I need to see it. I need to know.”

He didn’t look convinced, but he nodded. Melanie took a deep breath, and clicked Play.

Story Time Tuesday: Blackwood Park

As I work on getting Dominion and my trunk novel The Hero Factor ready for publication, I’ll be exercising my writing muscles by working on my short story skills.  This story, started a week or so before I started that job that didn’t work out and tentatively titled Blackwood Park, isn’t really that short — I think it’s going to come out to around 15,000 words when all is said and done, so more of a novellette, really. This is why I need to practice the short part of short stories. But it’s appropriate for Halloween season, and hopefully by committing to updating it each week I’ll be motivated to write new scenes on the weekends. And so, I give you Story Time Tuesdays, wherein subsequent parts of this story will appear each Tuesday until it’s done, and hopefully after that, newer, shorter stories will get written and posted.

Blackwood Park

Part One

 

NO NEW LEADS IN MISSING TEENS CASE

TULSA, Oklahoma – One year after two Tulsa teenagers went missing, state and local investigators say there are no new leads in the case. Scott Fisher, 18, and James Lee, 17, had told friends and family that they were going to spend the weekend of August 20th hiking and camping in the woods near Lake Eucha. They were last seen the morning of the 20th in a convenience store just outside of Locust Grove. Witnesses, including the store clerk, say that nothing appeared odd or unusual about the boys.

A team of police and rescuers were dispatched to search the lake and surrounding areas after the boys failed to return home or check in on the following Monday. Fisher’s car was found abandoned and burned on the side of a dead-end road just off of Highway 10, near the site of the abandoned Blackwood Park amusement park. Despite the apparent car fire, Police found no evidence of either a car accident or foul play, and the search and rescue team found no trace of either boy. 

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